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July 13, 2020 11:50 AM

Discolored Water on East Side of Blaine

In early July a header pipe in a filter at water treatment plant three near Centennial High School failed. The filter particles are larger and heavier so they will not flush out easily, the city needs to push a lot of water through the system to get them moving. The source of the issue has been resolved, but the residual issue of discolored water is still being addressed.

Please report any water clarity issues by calling or texting the following numbers.
Public Works: 763-785-6165, available 7AM - 3PM
Blaine City Hall: 763-784-6700, available 8AM - 4:30PM
After Hours Text: 763-292-4227
After Hours Public Works Emergency Dispatch: 763-427-1212

Minnesota Department of Health Water Quality Information


Manganese in Drinking Water


Comparison of State Water Guidance and Federal Drinking Water Standards


Guidance Values and Standards for Contaminants in Drinking Water

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Latest Update:

August 4, 2020 4:09 PM

Final repairs to water treatment plant three are underway and the plant is expected to be fully operational soon. At this point, everything that entered the water system due to the filter failure has been flushed out of the system.

Even with the system being flushed some residents have continued to experience discolored water. With one of the three water treatment plants down, the city has had to rely more heavily on water directly from the city’s wells. This water from the wells is treated and safe to drink but it naturally has more iron and manganese in the water resulting in the discoloration. This natural discoloration is why the city chose to construct water filtration plants in 2006-2007.

During summer months, the city must use multiple seasonal wells, which do not run through the filter plants, just to meet the demand of residents and businesses. At this point only about 60 percent of the water used by residents goes through filtration. The water clarity should improve over the next several weeks as plant three is brought back on line. Additionally, the city is mid-way through the construction of a fourth water treatment plant. With the inclusion of this facility in late 2021, the city will be able to serve the entire city with fully filtered water for years to come.

Prior Updates

View All Updates
July 24, 2020 10:31 AM

The city continues to test the water quality in the areas of the city that have recently experienced discolored water. The latest test results show between 360ppb and 630ppb of manganese in the water. The Minnesota Department of Health recommends that until the water tests at less than 100ppb of manganese residents should use bottled or treated water for formula fed infants under the age of 12 months.

The Minnesota Department of Health has prepared a summary document with information regarding manganese in drinking water. It can be viewed by clicking the link below.

If your water has returned to normal and runs clear, it is safe to assume that the iron and manganese levels have decreased in your area. Blaine Public Works continues to respond to resident reports of discolored water and flush the water system as needed.

Because of this inconvenience, the City of Blaine will be providing residents in the affected area with a $10.88 reduction on their next utility bill. This is the equivalent of 8,000 gallons (one month of average household use) of free water. The City of Blaine quarterly utility bill combines charges for water, sewer, stormwater, garbage, and recycling.

As a city, we have high standards for the services provided to Blaine residents. In this case, the city did not meet those standards and we will work diligently to provide better service going forward.

Manganese in Drinking Water (PDF)
July 17, 2020 7:07 PM

The City of Blaine has conducted water quality tests at locations east of Lexington Avenue where the city has been experiencing discolored water. An independent lab tested the water and prepared the results.

The test results show higher than normal levels of iron and manganese. The city expected the results to show higher levels, as this is what has been causing the discolored water. Iron and manganese are considered secondary standards and there are no requirements in place to test for these elements.

City staff, with the help of an outside engineering firm, are continuing to monitor the situation and adjust treatment methods as needed to improve water clarity and reduce the levels of iron and manganese.

On July 17, the city contacted the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) to determine if the elevated levels of iron and manganese presented any public health concerns. There is no public health guidance from MDH or the EPA for iron. MDH advised the city that there are no short-term health risks with elevated levels of manganese for individuals over the age of one at the levels found in the city’s test results. At levels found in the samples, all risks are related to long-term chronic exposure, the EPA value of 300ppb for manganese is a lifetime health advisory. MDH has informed the city that most household water softeners would remove the manganese.

MDH did advise that until the water tests at less than 100ppb of manganese it is recommended to use bottled or treated water for formula fed infants under the age of 12 months.

The test results the city received on July 17 showed manganese levels between 100ppb and 640ppb. The city has now implemented changes, recommended by the independent engineering consultant, to the water treatment process. Additional adjustments will be made as needed.

No additional iron or manganese from the failed filter are entering the water system at this time. Reports of discolored water have decreased daily and crews have observed improvements in water clarity. Monitoring will continue and ongoing updates will be posted on BlaineMN.gov, and MDH guidance regarding infants should be followed until further notice.

If you are still experiencing discolored water, please contact the city in one of the following ways.
Public Works: 763-785-6165, available Monday – Friday 7AM - 3PM
Blaine City Hall: 763-784-6700, available Monday – Friday 8AM - 4:30PM
After Hours Text: 763-292-4227
After Hours Public Works Emergency Dispatch: 763-427-1212